In 2018, cases of fraud rose 12% in Canada1. This means that we need to be extra cautious to avoid falling victim to scammers. Follow these strategies to protect yourself from fraudulent emails.
What do fraudulent emails look like?
Phishing emails are a classic move by scammers looking for new victims. Certain clues could indicate that an email is suspicious, for example, if it:
- is from a distribution list
- does not contain your name in the greeting
- was sent by an unknown sender
- is full of spelling, syntax or grammar mistakes
- includes clickable links
- includes attachments
- asks for personal information
- urges you to transfer money quickly
- is not text, but an image
What are the common traps used by fraudsters?
The go-to scenario for con artists is to pretend to be a loved one who is urgently asking for money. This lets them prey on people vulnerable to this type of tactic and swindle them out of large amounts of money. If you think that the request may be legitimate, call the person in question; their email address might have been hacked.
Fraudsters also try to gather confidential information, using fear and alerting you, for example, that your credit card number has been stolen. If you think the email might be legitimate, contact the financial institutions independently using the contact information you look up on their official website.
Other scam tactics include letting you in on good news, sharing enticing offers, announcing that you won a contest you never entered, etc. Beware of unsolicited offers.
Scammers have a wide variety of tricks up their sleeve. When one set of traps no longer works or becomes too well known, they invent new ones! So be on the lookout for suspicious emails.
If you witness a fraud attempt, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
1 Statistics Canada : https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/85-002-x/2019001/article/00013-eng.pdf?st=TMvdKoRH